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The Advantages of Implementing a Sugar Sweetened Beverage Tax

The ever increasing consumption of sugar sweetened beverages has become a serious health concern in America and elsewhere.  As Roberta Friedman and Kelly Brownell note in their policy brief on sugar sweetened beverage taxes, “rigorous scientific studies have shown that consumption of SSBs contributes to poor diet, and risk for obesity, diabetes and a number of other serious health problems” (Friedman & Brownell, 2012).  It’s obvious that some form of action must be taken to reduce these negative impacts.  Many policy makers have proposed implementing a tax on soda and other similar beverages that “are inexpensive, abundant, high in calories, deliver little to no nutrition, and appeal to our taste for sweetness” (Friedman & Brownell, 2012).  Proponents note that the funds raised from proposed taxes could be used to subsidize healthy foods in addition to discouraging consumption of unhealthy beverages, increasing the appeal of this solution to policy makers. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]The increased price of sugar sweetened beverages would likely also create a demand for healthier alternatives, which could have a significant impact on the current market (Friedman & Brownell, 2012).

Not everyone agrees that imposing a tax on sugar sweetened beverages is an appropriate measure to take.  Natalie Riediger also compares it to cigarette taxes in Canada, but notes that decreased tobacco consumption was not uniform.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay] According to Riediger, many individuals of higher socioeconomic status have either quit smoking cigarettes or failed to start smoking cigarettes since the implementation of the tax; however, populations of lower socioeconomic status failed to see similar results.  This places the tax burden on the shoulders of the lower class, without offering this population similar benefits (Riediger, n.d.).  In response to this commonly made argument Friedman and Brownell point out that obesity also “disproportionately hurts poor and minority populations,” who also stand to benefit from potential programs that could be established using the tax revenue to which they would be contributing.  Buhler et al note that the implementation of a sugar sweetened beverage tax would have to occur in conjunction with other public health policy changes in order to be effective (Buhler et al, 2013).  Taking into account that currently disenfranchised populations have much to gain from nutritional health programs and other public policy changes that could be funded with the tax money, a sugar sweetened beverage tax appears to be universally beneficial rather than unfairly discriminatory.[Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

Buhler, Susan et al. (2013). “Building a Strategy for Obesity Prevention One Piece at a Time:
The Case of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxation.” Canadian Journal of Diabetes,
37.2: 97-102.

Friedman, Roberta R. & Brownell, Kelly D. (2012). “Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes: An
Updated Policy Brief.” Yale Rudd Center For Food Policy & Obesity.

Riediger, Natalie. (n.d.) “A sugar-sweetened beverage tax is not the answer.” University of 

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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